"WHO YA GONNA CALL?" Just about anyone between the ages of 20 and 60 knows the answer to that question. The 20 to 40-year olds because they grew up with this movie the 40 to 60-year olds because their kids ran around screaming it all the time. Ghostbusters is a classic example of the best of sci-fi comedy. It's the inspired tale of three ne'er-do-well scientists who, upon losing their university grants, take their collectively unorthodox interest in paranormal activity and turn it into the American dream! Okay, so they become hack ghost chasers working out of a ramshackle fire station in New York City, but they ROCK! Ghostbusters stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis, with Sigourney Weaver in her first comedy role, an inspired portrayal of the human vessel for the spirit Zool who will take over the city if the guys don't blast her.
A generation of folks have probably been denied the opportunity to see the widescreen version of this film, since their only access to the movie was an older sibling's VHS pan and scan copy. This format, and the dolby digital sound are probably worth the price alone, especially for those late 20- to 30-somethings of us that are starting our own families and want to show our kids what special effects looked like "back in our day."
This DVD is a shining example of the potential of this media. The Columbia folks threw everything imaginable onto this sucker and you can spend hours just checking it all out. The menus are a fun 3-D New York Skyline with a kinky Ghostbusters background tune playing along. The biggest extras are the director's commentary with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and Joe Medjuck and the Special Effects Featurette. The directors commentary is filmed like MST3K with silhouettes of our three commentators in front of the movie screen. They've brought the movie sound down low so you really only hear what the commentators are talking about for most of the viewing, which is good for some scenes, not for others. Ramis and Reitman shine here, not because they're so witty or informative (though they do provide some neat trivia) but because they so obviously love this movie. Their commentary is affectionate and occasionally self critical, which is a nice change of pace from some directors who just pump themselves up for and hour and a half. I'm really not sure what Joe Medjuck was doing there. He was mostly pointless.
The Special Effects Featurette really reminds us of how far we've come in the last 15 years of film making. These folks jumped through flaming hoops to pull off optical effects that would take no time digitally today. Awesome.
Other extras include a 28-scene selection guide, deleted scenes, most of them lame, (but there was one funny scene where the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man's hat crashes to the street near the end) and storyboards and conceptual drawings, which will only appeal to the truly obsessed. The tricks and trivia section is really cool. When this is turned on the film plays with subtitled trivia and info from the original production notes. The text moves pretty fast so it's hard to watch and read but the info is worth the effort.
The MSRP may sound high but most web venders knock at least a coupla bucks off the price. It's worth the money for this one, if only because it was put together with so much love.
Amy Morrison, 3/15/00